June 22, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; General view of the stage prior to the 2012 NHL Draft at CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE
Well, with all the rumors swirling around that the Rangers will trade their pick for Rick Nash or Bobby Ryan. The Rangers went ahead and kept the pick and used it on Brady Skjei; a 6'3 200lbs smooth skating defenseman from Minnesota who will be attending The University of Minnesota in the fall.
From Corey Pronman
Skjei is quite an intriguing prospect to scout, as while average across the board aside from his size and skating, it's the latter that is clearly visible every time he plays and generates his value. Skjei is a well above-average to elite skater who moves as well as you'll find in a 6'3" player. I've seen instances where forwards would get two or three steps behind him and with a few side steps he would catch up to them. His first step is pretty explosive and makes him very dangerous on the rush as he regularly will take the puck out of his own end and bring it up through the opponent's blue line with ease. Skjei's puck skills are solid for a big man, but compared to a wide talent pool they're pretty average. The same can be said for his puck-moving skills as well which is why despite that one high-end ability, I don't think he has a significant offensive ceiling. In his own end, he uses his mobility well to stay with his checks, but doesn't use his large frame as much as he could and seems a bit timid at times. Whoever drafts him will be betting on the tremendous physical tools and hoping something else in his game takes a jump forward along the way to really propel his value.
A solid two way defenseman that could get into the 4-6 pairing range. At 28 it's a solid pick
In a draft-year where the first round could be more than fifty percent defense, it’s easy for some blueliners to get lost in the shuffle. The physically imposing but ‘raw’ Brady Skjei of the U.S. NTDP Under-18 team might be a victim of the defensive overflow. Despite pro-caliber size and superlative wheels, the University of Minnesota commit seems to get lost in the vast sea that is the 2012-eligible defenseman corps.
Again, this is a good pick for the Rangers. The team could use some more defensemen in the system and Skjei is being compared to being a Ryan McDonagh-lite which is never a bad thing